St Vincent's Hospital has established an identification and rehabilitation initiative for riders injured in motorcycle accidents who present to the Hospital's Emergency Department.


The program, referred to as MARI (Motorcycle Accident Rehabilitation Initiative), has been enabled by a $30,000 donation from George and Charis Schwarz following the successful sale of their photographic journal Highlights of the Road.


George and Charis' motivation in raising funds for riders was to support the longer-term physical injuries and social and emotional problems experienced by riders following an accident. Their feeling was that these problems were not properly identified and supported by current health protocols.


Their concern correlated with a recent accident injury study by Steven Faux, Lachlan Donaldson and Kathryn Brooke of St Vincent's Hospital Rehabilitation Medicine Department.


'When George and I spoke about this a few months back he was pretty amazed that we had found the very same thing through our study,' says Dr Faux, Director, Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Services at St Vincent's.


photo book images


'The study of over 180 motor vehicle accidents found that almost half were motorcycle accidents, and of these only one-third were given support and assistance in addressing some common rider concerns. For example: What has happened to my bike? How will I earn a living while I am injured? What do I need to do about insurance?


MARI is collaboration between St Vincent's Emergency Department, Rehabilitation Department and Social Work Department to better address these concerns. The program ensures that riders presenting to the Emergency Department are properly identified for follow-up support by rehabilitation and social workers.


This also extends to riders who have accidents but are not admitted to St Vincent's Hospital. In these circumstances, a face-to-face interview or a telephone interview with a social worker will be arranged, to assist riders with insurance issues, provide short-term funding entitlements, and make sure they have access to proper medical and psychological treatment, if needed.


The MARI fund, established with George and Charis' donation, will finance a number rehabilitation packages for riders who do not have access local hospital or community support following an accident or who require more rehabilitation than previously offered.


The fund will also provide support to collect data on people injured by motorcycle accidents for St Vincent's Rehabilitation Department. The Department anticipates this may be the precursor of better provision of psychosocial services to all victims of motor bike accidents.


Charis and George want to thank all those who have contributed to MARI so far and will do so in future.